Social grant 'activists' exposed as fraudsters

2009-11-19 00:00

SOCIAL Development MEC Meshack Radebe had to be excused from Parliament in Cape Town yesterday to come to the city to attend to a grants scam.

Radebe was phoned by Freedom Ntombela of the Democratic Alliance about the ongoing scam by “activists” who take money from people with the promise of a R1 500 basic income grant from the government.

The “activists” are members of the SA Unemployed People’s Organisation who charge people R10 to qualify for the grant.

Members of a crowd that gathered at the organisation’s office in Boom Street said the scam has been going on since the organisation handed over a memorandum to the Office of the Premier during their march last Thursday.

On arrival at the office, an angry Radebe called the scheme “criminal”.

“When I asked these people what the money is for, they said it’s for rental. Later, this lady [pointing to one of the four culprits] changed her tune, saying it’s for the workshop that will take place [today].

“They told people that the premier and I will be present at that workshop.

“I know for a fact that the premier won’t be around tomorrow,” said Radebe.

“This is fraud and money laundering. You don’t have the right to take people’s ID copies. You are going to jail for this,” Radebe said. “You promise people a basic income grant. Where is that grant coming from?” he fumed.

Crowd members revealed that earlier a car took a medium-sized bag full of money away. More money in a plastic bag was put in front of Radebe. Bank notes of different denominations were found stashed inside a desk drawer.

The Witness reported on the matter on Tuesday and when contacted for comment, the Social Development Department said people are not charged for government grants.

The police confiscated an undisclosed amount of money and documents at the office.

Police had to calm the crowd that blocked police vehicles from the alley alongside the building.

A fraud case has been opened against the four and handed to the commercial crimes unit.

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